Monday, 20 August 2012

East Lothian : Fresh and Salt.

I had the afternoon free last Monday so I decided to head down the coast in search of bass. As I was driving I decided to pop into a small burn I used to fish when I was a kid. When I arrived it was a lot smaller than I remembered! The water was crystal clear, the sun was high and it was nice and warm which made fishing very pleasant. I began by wading in and casting up stream, with the rod tip held high I retrieved the lure just a bit faster than the current with a twitchy retrieve. The lure of choice was a Berkley Gulp! 1" Fish Fry in red, mounted on a 1.4g #10 Shirasu fine jighead. Stealth tactics were a necessity keeping low against the bank, I worked the pool above me. After a few casts I had a little bite and then a little trout began leaping madly about! As I brought the fish towards me it looked a little different, quite silver with darker bars down its flanks and by the time I brought its cavorting under control I realised it was a little rainbow. My smallest ever and it looked really pretty in the warm summer sun. I held the fish in one hand and began to fumble around looking for my camera, randomly patting parts of my body. After about a minutes worth of frankly pathetic searching the fish, by now fully recovered, gave a little head shake and gleefully threw the hooks! I watched the fish speed away downstream, at least I had found my camera all be it too late in this case.

No more bites from the pool up stream I began to work the pool down stream. Casting down and across the current I allowed the lure to swing back around below me, allowing me to retrieve it alongside an overhanging tree. As I twitched the lure passed the tree another little trout dashed out from the shadows and seized the lure. Again after much head shaking the little trout was brought to hand. Another tiny rainbow and this time I was ready with my camera, or not as it turned out! I made my way to the bank, holding the leader and keeping the fish in the water, looking for a shallow spot to take a photo. I got to the margins and instantly forgot which pocket my camera was in. Thus began more fevered, one handed fumbling as I searched. The trout sensing an idiot was in control took its chance, threw the hooks and disappeared. With my photographic plans foiled, I made sure my camera was to hand and began to fish a small culvert where a even smaller stream joined the burn. I got within about 6' of the flow and crouched behind some reeds and began just flicking the lure upstream. The technique was very similar to fishing Czech nymphs for grayling. Just bouncing the lure downstream along the bottom with the current, hardly reeling and just letting the rod control the lure. Second pass through a little brownie grabbed it and was quickly landed and this time photographed!

Finally a fish got photographed!

I carried on working my way upstream hoping for another rainbow. A few pools later I felt the tiniest of fish on the lure and reeled in to find a minnow had foul hooked itself!

Kamikaze minnow.

I must have gone half a mile up the river before I had another fish. I had cast upstream, the lure landing just below some rapids at the head of the pool. A couple of turns on the handle and I saw a golden flash in the water and felt a trout take hold of the lure. I gave a little flick of the wrist to set the hook and the trout went instantly airborne and with a frantic head shake threw the hook. I recast to the same spot and the lure was seized the instant it hit the water. The rod hooped over as the fish stayed deep and shot into the main channel easily stripping line from my lightly set drag. I manged to play the fish towards me where I caught sight of it kiting through the water. A beautifully marked brownie and a good sized one too. I played the fish downstream to where I could beach it all the time marvelling at the sight of it in the clear water. Heart thumping and hands shaking I manged to beach it and there before me lay my biggest brownie this year!

Nicely marked wild brown trout.
Recovering in the shallows.
Released, it swam strongly back up into the main channel.

Now I was really buzzing and decided to head back down towards the car, hoping to pick up another rainbow. I came to a pool where I could see a fish rising. Here the river narrowed to about 12' and a bank side bush overhung it. I began to stalk the trout slowly edging my way down until I was crouched in the river under the bush. With my rod poking out from the branches I lobbed the lure 6' away from me to where the fish was rising. As soon as the lure had plopped into the water the fish was on it and after a brief tussle it was landed.

Another lovely fish.

Marvelling at its very green colouration and feeling immensely satisfied at my stalking approach the fish was released and I headed back to the car to head off bassing! A brief drive later and I was at the mark, which as it turned out was incredibly rough! An onshore wind and an ebbing tide had really got a big swell up and lots of smashed weed and kelp was suspended in the water. I rigged up a Lunker City Ribster in Arkansas Shiner on a 10.5g Lunker City football jighead. Fishing was downright dangerous at times with big waves breaking up onto the reef. This meant I couldn't really fish my usual points so I began to move around the reef. The weed was really proving to be a pain with every couple of casts picking up the floating weed. I had been fishing for about an hour when I finally had a bite. This took me a bit by surprise as it was only about 10 yards out and I had all but given up hope! The fish made a bee line for deeper water and tried to head out with the surf. It gave a good scrap but was soon landed.

A nice little bass.
Reward for my perseverance.

Mission accomplished I decided not to bother trying for anymore as it was just too rough, so with the promise to myself that I would be back when it calms, I headed home grinning like a Cheshire cat! 

Tight lines, Schogsky.

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